Re: Learning UNIX

Subject: Re: Learning UNIX
From: Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 16:52:36 -0400

Alicia Robinson wrote:

> I'm a new tech writer and I want to install UNIX on my PC at home to learn
> the operating system.

It is possible to learn Unix from the online manuals. I did, but that was
20 years ago and quite painful.

Read some books. I believe our list managers have written an introduction.
I haven't read it. Mayhap others here can comment. If you're a programmer,
Kernighan and Pike "The Unix Programming Environment" is essential. Anything
from O'Reilly is usually good, especially for Unix. They started as a tiny
publisher, specializing in Unix books.

See also www.linuxdoc.org

> Which UNIX os would you suggest I install? (It looks like Linux might be a
> good choice.)

I'd go wth Linux. I've used Redhat, Mandrake and SuSE recently. None of the
installs is fatally difficult, though all of them get painfully complex if
you try to choose packages yourself and then don't recognise most of the
things on the list. Beginners should just take a standard install. I'd say
Mandrake has a small edge.

Any of the various BSD derivatives might be an alternative.
www.freebsd.org, www.netbsd.org, www,openbsd.org

> I would like to run both UNIX and Windows 98 on my computer,
> if possible.

Should be no problem. The machine I'm on now runs both happliy.

The one command you have to know is "man" to get the online manuals.
e.g.
man ls prints page for the 'ls' command
man 1 intro prints intro to section 1, user commands
man -k text names of all commands with "text" in their one-line
descriptions

Setions are 1, user commands, 2 system calls, 3 programming libraries,
4, 5, 6, 7 (in some order I forget), games, file formats, devices
and macro packages (e.g. for text formatting). 8 is admin commands.

Not all Linux or *BSD commands have man pages. Sometimes you have to
use the GNU project's info tool instead.




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